The news from Wigan this afternoon, following United’s 1-1 draw to end an ultimately disappointing season, was that full-back Charlie Taylor refused to turn out for Leeds. This comes straight from the mouth of manager Garry Monk, via respected journo Adam Pope, so we can assume it’s reliable. And, if it is true, there can be little more disgraceful than the base treachery of a rich young man, content to pick up his lavish wage while arrogantly insisting that he’s not prepared to soil his hands with any actual work.
That old Billy Bremner motto “Side before self, every time” seems to be an outdated notion as far as many of today’s spoiled young football millionaires are concerned. If anything, they might reverse the saying and use it as a rallying cry for the selfish and materialistic end of their profession. It’s often said that thousands out there with the words Leeds United carved deep and painfully into their very hearts, would happily don that famous shirt for free, or even pay for the privilege – just to have one chance to tread the hallowed turf in United’s cause. And it’s doubtless true. But all of that is just so much sentimental hogwash to your average self-involved young “pro” of today.
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. The game I fell in love with is now spattered, like a car windscreen at a gull-infested seaside resort, with examples of arrogance and self-interest. King Billy must be spinning in his grave, because this daft Charlie is just the latest in a long line of young blots on the game. Taylor is doubtless advised and encouraged by an agent, who should also know better – because having what amounts to strike action on your CV at such an early stage of a promising career is hardly calculated to inspire confidence in future employers.
Still, Taylor will end up somewhere. West Brom, perhaps – we might even find ourselves passing him on the way down as we head up this time next year. Which would be satisfying karma at least.
Some players leave with a job well done and good wishes for the future. Again, there will be some who will wave farewell to Taylor with just such feelings, but they’re surely the minority and a misguided one at that. Taylor has let his manager down, his team-mates, the club and the thousands of fans who have applauded his every every moment in a Leeds United shirt. And, despite all of this, he will quite happily continue to pick up his ill-deserved money until the moment he slithers out of the Elland Road door. In hard times, that must leave a nasty taste in more mouths than just mine alone.
Like most Leeds fans, I’m hoping for better times ahead, without Cellino, without some surplus deadwood, and perhaps with some proper investment. The future might be bright – let’s hope so.
What I’m most afraid of, though, is that the game nowadays is so far gone as compared to the dear old pre-Sky times, that our future never can be as bright and enjoyable as our past. And the reason for that is to be found mainly in the attitude and selfish priorities of young ne’er-do-wells like Charlie Taylor.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.